By Paula Mitchell
Families created small communities in the mountains, which meant there were fewer options for meeting that special someone. Typically, though, young teenagers would find each other at a barn dance, taffy pulling event, or church service. They’d make eyes at one another across the room, and things would happen in pretty quick succession after that. “Slim pickin’s” meant you didn’t have the luxury to wait around for someone more suited. A person got what one could while the gettin’ was good.
Courtship could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If the woman got pregnant during their courtship, the father would hurry the wedding along. Many believe the term “shotgun wedding” began with the Appalachian people.
During the pioneer days, as a rule, women married very young. Women often wed as schoolgirls, bringing the average age of married women to 20. Women who remained unmarried were classified as spinsters at a much earlier age than elsewhere. A couple would normally have anywhere from six to 20 children. Large families assured that there would always be help around the house or out in the fields. Older children would usually help look after the “little ones.”
After the festivities of the wedding day had calmed down, and the newlyweds were settling in for the night, a boisterous crowd would gather outside their house and begin raising a rowdy ruckus. The crowd, usually led by a brother or close male relative of the groom, would sing and shout, setting off firecrackers or shooting guns, and banging on the doors and windows of the house.
Then they would rush into the house, grab the groom and place him on a wooden rail, riding him around the yard. The bride was often plunged into a tub of cold water and carried around behind him.
Now, for wedding superstitions:
- The bridal veil served as protecting the bride from “the evil eye” or witches.
- Originally, the groomsmen fought with each other to see who would get the bride’s garter, which was supposed to bring luck.
- Wedding rings were exchanged during the wedding ceremony. This practice dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The ring has always been worn on the left hand, on the third finger which was believed to lead straight to the heart.
- The wedding cake was to encourage fertility.
- The European tradition of the honeymoon dates back to hundreds of years, with the newlyweds drinking honey for a full month.
- Romans thought good and evil spirits hung around the entrance to the home. Stepping into the house with the left foot first, meant that the evil spirits won. So, to be sure the bride did not step into the new home with the wrong foot, the groom just picked her up and carried her in. Thus, carrying the bride over the threshold came to be put in place.
- Most weddings took place in June. This was to honor the queen of gods, Juno. They hoped to win her favor to make the marriage last, and to also make childbirth easier. This favorite month to marry continues to this day, since it is a cooler month than July or August.
Life’s little instructions to make one’s pathway much easier to walk include the following:
- Always, ALWAYS send a thank you note for gifts received.
- Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter.
- Return all things one borrows.
- Carry jumper cables in one’s car.
- Say “thank you” a lot.
The order of the day and week has been hot and sultry. Indeed, it is the lazy, hazy days of summer. Storm showers linger in spots, with some areas enjoying accumulation. Roger Shrewsbury received around 2 inches Saturday. The river continues to lazily bend its way to the north. Canning is in high gear around the community, and the abundance of vegetables is much appreciated.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Virginia Wolf
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schulz
“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” — Elbert Hubbard
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” — Mark Twain
“Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” — Marilyn Monroe.
Sitting inside by the air conditioning is where the “Talk of the Grove” is taking place.
The annual Pratt reunion was held Sunday at the VFW Park in Sugar Grove. There were 22 in attendance and from all accounts, everyone had a good time. When Charles and “Pidge” Anderson returned home they received word that “Pidge’s” brother, Billy Pratt, had suffered a stroke and passed away early Sunday morning.
The Martin Smith family reunion was held last Sunday at the VFW pavilion in Sugar Grove. The Grogg reunion was held Sunday.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- The early Greeks flashed coded messages by reflecting light from their polished shields.
- The hermit crab has no shell of his own. He finds an empty shell, makes it his home and changes shells as he grows his own.
- There are no pews in Rome’s St. Peter’s Cathedral.
- Woodpeckers “peck” not only for food but to communicate with other woodpeckers.
- Different shoes for the right and left feet didn’t become popular until the time of the Civil War.
Up-coming August birthdays are as follows: Lynn Nelson and Wanda Rexrode, 16th; Jeff Simmons and Josh Owens, 17th; Sheldon Waggy and Rhonda Nash,18th; Helen Troutman and Trace Lambert, 19th; Donna Brady, 20th; Logan McMillen, C.C. Hotten and Jonathan Eye, 22nd; Mike Jamison and Bob Puffenbarger, 23rd; Bret Reel and Kenny Simmons, 24th; Debbie Thompson, Greg Simmons, Pat Simmons, Jerry Snyder and Lois Jean Riggleman, 25th; Ken Nelson, 26th; Brenda Fisher and Isaiah Kobetic, 29th; Lucy Shumaker, 30th; and Kathy Bowers, Kinsley Armstrong and Verla Puffenbarger, 31st.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, the Lloyd Bowers family, Bill Brackman, Scherry Chambers, Charlotte Copley, the Thelma Cooper family, Jeff Craig, the Cindy DiFlaco family, Jeff Evick, Lee Roy and Ina Evick, the Herb Eye family, Mary Eye, Ron Gilkeson, Barry Gordon, Lola Graham, Marlene Harman, the Anita Frances Harper family, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Starr Hedrick, George Hevener, Gary and Jackie Hills, Rose Hinkle, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlie Marie Hoover, Lorena Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Enos Horst, Bob Hurry, Alice Johnson, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Robin and Kitty Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Roger and Skip Mallow, Yvonne Marsh, Neil McLaughlin, Naomi Michael, the Garry E. Mitchell family, Joe Moats, Lincoln Moore, Ernie Morgan, Aaron Nelson, Kathy Nelson, Ken and Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Ronnie Pitsenbarger, Wanda Pitsenbarger, the Billy Pratt family, Alda Propst, Betty Lou Propst, Kara Propst, Kathy Propst, Linda Propst, Sheldon Propst, Pam Rexrode, Donna Ruddle, Bernie Sasscer, Barbara Simmons, Emily Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, Charlie Sites, Diana Smith, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Patricia Swecker, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, the Violet Thompson family, Jack Vogel, Judy Waggy, Ron White, Judy Williams, Larry Wimer and Carol Windett.